Expert Witnesses Testify in the Guatemala Genocide Case

On December 1, 2009, Judge Santiago Pedraz heard extraordinary testimony from Fredy Peccerelli, Director of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG), on hundreds of exhumations conducted across Guatemala to unearth the remains of civilian victims killed in Guatemala during the 1980s. Peccerelli, who was brought into the case as an expert witness by CJA and the Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE), presented the Judge with a 900-page report analyzing 363 exhumations conducted by FAFG of victims killed between 1978 and 1984 in five municipalities in Guatemala. Peccerelli’s testimony supported the accounts of dozens of witnesses and survivors who have previously testified.

Almudena Bernabeu, CJA’s International Attorney and lead counsel in the genocide case states: “This week’s testimony will serve to corroborate evidence already brought before this Court. Having in the case the objective and tangible information provided by original military documents and the anthropological data takes the case to the next level.”

Also testifying was the National Security Archive’s Kate Doyle, who has obtained
hundreds of pages of original Guatemalan Army records on “Operation Sofía,” an alleged "scorched earth operation" which targeted Mayan communities in the Quiché region during July and August, 1982.

For detailed information on Operation Sofia, visit the National Security Archive.

More information about the court documents can be found in a recent New York Times article.

Click here for CJA’s full press release.